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Physics FMR Radiation Therapist to Physics?

  1. Jan 28, 2010 #1
    So I switched my major out of sciences to Radiation Therapy when I was worried about the economy and was under the impression medical= instant job. I of course discovered medical physics at my clinical site but it was too late to go back with out finishing. Now having discovered Therapy has no jobs I'm considering a return to physics. I have a real passion for science and it keeps pointing to physics lately, but will it be a waste if I go back? Although I have a decent command of the basics of XIO and some other dosimetry programs, dosimtery schools seem to have gigantic backlogs of applicants. The job market for dosimetry does not seem to be much better than radiation therapy.

    So in a few questions.

    Medical physicists, would this be a good move? what is the job market like for those with little experience? any stories anecdotes or words of wisdom? I have a passion for Oncology from my therapist background so this seems like the most obvious choice for me.

    Other than medical physics whose job description i have a good grasp on what other physics related professions are out there?

    I am also considering the college based & naval nuclear physics program. Has any one gone through something similar? What is this like?

    Thanks for the help, This site has also been an awesome refresher for mathematics and physics lately.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 29, 2010 #2


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    If you jump up to the Medical Physics thread, we've been discussing jobs in medical physics for the last page or so of posts.

    In general, medical physics and radation therapy jobs are, economically speaking, going to parallel each other. There are more radation therapy positions, but there are also more radiation therapists. It is my opinion, that hiring in this (either) field is in a slump right now due to the sluggish economy. However over the next decade the increases in cancer rates will drive significant growth. Others disagree with me.

    To get into medical physics you first need to complete an undergradate degree in physics. Some branches of engineering are accepted as well, but in general, a radiation therapy background won't qualify you for admission to graduate school.
  4. Jan 29, 2010 #3
    Please note the irony which abounds in this field. Having a background of radiation therapy, you will be unqualified to perform radiation therapy under the title of "medical physicist."
  5. Jan 30, 2010 #4
    You are correct. Having a background of radiation therapy, you will be qualified to be a radiation therapist. Who would have guessed it? Having a background in medical physics will qualify you to be a medical physicist. Fancy that?

    I suppose you'll be disappointed if your background in physics doesn't let you be a concert pianist too?
  6. Jan 30, 2010 #5
    @ qball. I was not planning on being a therapist if i continued to physics. So the irony would not be lost on me.

    I appreciate the info on the direction of the field and amount of physics jobs out there. More than anything, i do not want to get a second bachelors and masters degree only to find i will still be working in a grocery store. haha

    Ill try to end my questions there as there are a lot more posts on medical physic on this site.

    Thank you all
  7. Feb 1, 2010 #6
    Just because most of clinical medical physics is in radiation therapy, doesn't mean that the job of the therapist and the job of the physicist are the same.
  8. Feb 3, 2010 #7
    neodevin and Choppy thanks for dealing with a "noob" like me and for the info on other threads in this forum. I'm gleaning information from each that i read and trying to answer my own questions as i go as well as brushing up on my physics in the teaching section. All help is much appreciated.
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